Gordon Wilson (Scottish politician)


Gordon Wilson (Scottish politician)

(Robert) Gordon Wilson (born 16 April 1938) is a former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP). He followed Billy Wolfe as SNP leader,[1] and was himself succeeded by Alex Salmond in 1990.[2]

Wilson was also a Member of Parliament for the Dundee East constituency from 1974 to 1987, when he lost to John McAllion of the Labour Party.[3]

Wilson's leadership was characterised by mixed fortunes. He was leader in the early 1980s when the party was in internal turmoil, and he was a key mover in proscribing both Siol nan Gaidheal and the 79 Group.[4] He also led the party through two poor general election performances in 1983 and 1987. However, a highlight of his leadership was the Govan by-election victory in 1988.

Wilson attempted to involve the SNP in the Scottish Constitutional Convention but due to the convention's unwillingness to contemplate discussions about Scottish independence as a constitutional option the SNP did not get involved.

Wilson can be characterised as a SNP Fundamentalist, although more of the old style rather than the new breed who tend to be firmly on the left of the party, with Wilson being more moderate in opinion.

Before his successes in electoral politics, Wilson was "Controller General" for a time of the political pirate station Radio Free Scotland.

Some of Gordon Wilson's papers are now held by Archive Services at the University of Dundee. [5]

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References

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Machin
Member of Parliament for Dundee East
Feb 19741987
Succeeded by
John McAllion
Political offices
Preceded by
William Wolfe
National Convener (Leader) of the Scottish National Party
1979–1990
Succeeded by
Alex Salmond
Preceded by
Douglas Henderson
Senior Vice Chairman (Deputy Leader) of the Scottish National Party
1973–1974
Succeeded by
Margo Macdonald
Academic offices
Preceded by
Baron Mackie of Benshie
Rector of the University of Dundee
1983–1986
Succeeded by
Malcolm Bruce

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